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How New Approaches is helping smallholders engage with FSC

The New Approaches project is developing specific tactics for smallholders and communities to engage with the FSC system and to maintain FSC certification. The effort ensures FSC remains internationally recognized and locally relevant.

Key achievements of the project include:

  • A pilot project was initiated in China to evaluate alternative approaches for smallholders within the Chinese national forest stewardship standard. You can find out more here.
  • In 2018, a technical working group was established to lead the revision of the FSC-STD-30-005-V1-1 Standard for Group Entities in Forest Management Groups. You can find out more here.
  • Another pilot project was launched to evaluate the role of forestry contractors in the group certification process as a strategic lever to increase smallholder accessibility to the FSC system. You can find out more here.
  • The New Approaches project facilitated a series of workshops to explore the concept of continuous improvement, where small forest owners and communities can achieve FSC certification over a period of time. You can see the preliminary findings of this work here

Latin America

Fifteen consultation workshops were conducted in eight countries, including: Honduras, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia. You can see the preliminary findings of this work here.


Focusing on Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, the project is exploring the concept of continuous improvement. The results of this effort will contribute to the development of national forest stewardship standards in Eastern Africa, implement a risk-assessment of the FSC national standards, and generate guidance for the standard development groups for the better inclusion of smallholders in the FSC system. You can find out more here.

Asia Pacific

The project is developing a regional standalone forest stewardship standard and associated tools for smallholders that seeks to improve smallholder access to the FSC system, covering four critical countries in the Asia Pacific region: India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. You can find out more here.

North America

In partnership with FSC US and Rainforest Alliance, the project is pilot testing a risk-based approach to evaluate if low-impact logging (when done only once every 40 to 60 years, without intermittent management) can be a proxy for responsible forest management for very small landholders in the Appalachian hardwood forests of the US. In turn, the activity seeks to enable smallholders, in particular, small family forest owners, to participate in the FSC system. You can find out more here.

Active stakeholder participation drives the design, innovation, and implementation of these new solutions. As these new solutions are scaled-up across the world, consistent engagement with stakeholders will facilitate rapid uptake and implementation. FSC will engage smallholders, and relevant local stakeholders and interest groups, such as forest owners’ associations, in dialogue events to seek their input on the new solutions. Their input will drive the assessment and evaluation of how viable these solutions will address local challenges and barriers to engage with FSC.